In a recent blog post explaining his company's decision to open up its European headquarters in Dublin, AirBnB founder Brian Chesky explained the many reasons this city has become the prime destination for the new technological royalty. Google, Facebook and LinkedIn are just some of the big names that have made Dublin city's Docklands their home in recent years, and it's fitting, as such, that the city now hosts the continent's biggest tech meet-up.
The Dublin Web Summit is now four years old, and has ballooned to more than ten times its original size. Don't be too afraid of getting lost in the sprawling program though. Here are some reasons for attending the super-conference and what to do while you’re there from a seasoned pro, Séadna Long from SixMinute, a Dublin based forward-thinking games studio set up by former members of the PopCap Dublin team.
Hacker culture has long since evolved from the body-length leather jackets of Matrix wannabes, and now provides the tools for change to humanitarians, watchdogs, environmentalists and all other kinds of good eggs. The Dublin Science Gallery's Hack the City program last year helped develop the city's hacker mindset, so expect a bundle of creativity at the Summit's Hackathon. The Hackathon will be a meeting of minds to try and figure out solutions to some of the toughest problems facing our global society in 2013. The best part? You can participate too. Follow #Hack4Good for more updates.
2. DublinBeta | The WebSummit Edition October 29
DublinBeta is a fringe event that gives Ireland’s fresh-faced start-ups a chance to demo their work in the casual setting of the Lost Society bar/club. It acts as a connector between international and local tech enthusiasts and entrepreneurs, with the pressure valve turned down enough to get some in-depth chatting done with a like-thinking mind.
3. Participate in (and win!) the World’s Hardest Working Startup competition
Good ideas are, of course, the starter for success - but the hard graft required to make those ideas come to life is even more invaluable. The World’s Hardest Working Startup competition shines a light on tech that’s not afraid to sweat. An open competition, the overall winner gets a golden ticket to the Summit.
The Aviva Stadium will host a sort of mini-Summit for those who want to get straight to the heavy hitters. Paypal, Google and Facebook all have representatives booked in for this intensive one-day workshop, co-hosted with the Dublin Chamber of Commerce. The focus is on getting your company set up for online trading.
5. Web Summit By Night
It can’t all be networking networking networking, of course. You’re in Dublin during one of the biggest parties of the year: Halloween. Last year, the Summit took over the thriving strip of bars that is the Dame Lane District. This year they promise “something like a square mile of pubs” for Summit wind-downs, rooftop parties, Irish ceilis, speakeasies and more.
6. Getting down to business
Amongst the fascinating spread of speakers, there’s something for guests of all backgrounds. Social gamers should check out Mindcandy’s Michael Acton Smith, while 21st century journalism’s foremost thinker, Vice’s Shane Smith is key for anybody interested in the future of news media. We all know what Siri sounds like, but you can listen to the voice behind Apple’s personal assistant, Adam Cheyer, while Box CEO Aaron Levie, who is judging the €500,000 search for the world’s best start-up should make intriguing company.
7. And the fun part
There’s the serious, and then there’s the seriously fun. There will be an array of guests as well known for their sense of humour as their business acumen. Founder of the Cheezburger empire Ben Huh will be revealing the secrets behind his multi-million meme machine, while both Movember’s founder JC and Dollar Shave Club’s Michael Dublin speak about harnessing the power of men’s grooming for the greater good. And don’t skip over Tony Hawk as a novelty guest – the former skateboard star’s gaming empire and socially-conscious endeavours will add some much needed levity to affairs.
8. Snack Time
Eat all of the cupcakes - everyone at DWS has cupcakes!
9. While in Dublin, do as the Dubliners do
There’s plenty to get up to in Dublin in your spare time too. If you get to Dublin a few days early and have an interest in all things vampire and literature we’ve got a handy breakdown of the Bram Stoker Festival which is on in the run up to the Dublin Web Summit. If vampires aren’t your thing here are some other excellent ways to spend October in the city all ready for you.
10. Get a taste
This video round-up of last year’s Summit is the perfect way to get acclimatised.